Debating the “Nuclear Renaissance”

In Canada, following the shocking numbers coming out this summer on the cost of building an Advanced Candu Reactor (ACR) in Ontario many key nuclear industry players are now advocating against the ACR that AECL has been touting. Recently, technicians at Chalk River have tried to distance themselves from ACR, as has the influential Power Workers Union in Ontario. So far this year alone, the federal government has poured $633.274 million into AECL with no end in sight. Alberta just said OK to nuclear but no provincial money. Given conditions in Alberta’s competitive power market, it hard to argue that nuclear has any future there. Nuclear refurbishments in Ontario and New Brunswick are going horribly with delays and cost overruns.
Internationally, notwithstanding  liquidation of its profitable transmission and development businesses, Areva is still sucking cash from shareholders. The main reason is problems with the two reactors it is building, one in Finland and the other in France. The brightest spot for nuclear world wide is China but how can we trust the claimed results.
New shale gas technology now flooding energy markets, falling power demand, and the flood of new renewables technologies getting installed (albeit heavily subsidized like nuclear) all indicate less need for nukes. Indeed in Ontario, there are increasing constraints for nuclear generators trying to find room on the grid, with some Bruce reactors going off-line for significant periods due to surplus power.
Here is a televised debate addressing these issues presented on Business News Network, December 16, 2009 on the show “Midday Markets”.

Tom Adams debating nuclear’s future with Neil Alexander of the Organization of Candu Industries